This curry is one that my mom prepares at home quite often whenever she gets hold of some mutton/goat meat. I love it when she prepares it, she makes them to go with the famous Malabar Neypathal, chappathi or sometimes Malabar Porotta. She prepares one of the best porottas at home. I have said it a zillion times here, but I can’t stop saying it; My mom is one of the best cooks and I just love her food. It’s not only my opinion, but anyone else who ever had her food. I don’t know if I will ever be able to create her taste in my kitchen, but I do try hard to bring that taste. Even if I cook exactly like her, and even under her guidance, I feel something is missing.
Not only my mom, my younger sis ‘Sham’ is also a great cook. One thing that never stops amazing me about her is that even if she doesn’t eat fish, she prepares one of the best fish curries! I don’t know how she does it without even tasting it. When I asked her that question, all she told me that she watched our mom cooking and cooks exactly like her! I sometimes call her to clarify the recipes because she was the one who learned all recipes from my mom exactly. I was also told by few of my family members who got a chance to eat her food; that her food is real tasty! This is one recipe that I called her up to clarify before sharing with you here.
Coming to the recipe part now, as I mentioned in the title, this curry can be prepared in two ways: One is by adding the roasted coconut and spices to the gravy, giving it a rich aroma of coconut and blended spices. That’s is pepper mutton in roasted coconut gravy. The other one is a simpler version without the hassle of adding the coconut – simple pepper mutton. This curry will be quite darker in colour since there is no coconut involved and is much easier since no grinding or anything is involved. Its tastier either ways, but adding freshly ground spices and coconut gives the curry an entirely different taste.
240 g onion chopped (1 ½ large onion, 1 ½ cups)
160g tomatoes chopped (1 ½ large ones, ¾ cup)
1 tbsp minced garlic
½- ¾ tbsp minced ginger
3-4 tsp pepper powder
4 tsp lightly roasted coriander powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1-4 green chillies split lengthwise (opt out if you like it less spicy)
1/3 cup water or as required
Salt - as required
2-3 Tbsp coconut oil/vegetable oil
2 twigs curry leaves
To roast and grind:
½ cup freshly grated coconut tightly packed
1 small piece cinnamon stick
¼ tsp fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)
¼ tsp fennel seeds (perumjeerakam)
1 – 1 ¼ cups water
1.Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add chopped onion and salt. Saute on medium flame until it becomes soft and starts taking golden colour.
2. Add ginger,garlic and green chillies and sauté for a minute or two until the raw smell goes away.
3. Add pepper powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder and sauté for 2 minutes. If the masala starts sticking to the pan, add few drops of water and continue cooking.
4. Add chopped tomatoes, cover the pan and cook till tomatoes gets mushy and all oil starts leaving the sides.
5. Add washed mutton pieces, stir well. Add water and pressure cook till done. If mutton has released lot of water, boil of excess water until you get thick gravy.
6.In another pan, add coconut and other whole spices. Saute on medium flame stirring constantly until coconut turns golden colour. Grind this into smooth paste by adding required amount of water.
7. Add this coconut paste along with curry leaves to the mutton curry cooked earlier and cook for further 4-5 minutes.
8. If you don’t want the coconut based curry, after step 5, just add curry leaves and ½ tsp of garam masala and some water if necessary. Cook it covered for 2-3 minutes to infuse flavour.
This curry pairs well with almost anything including neypathal, paratta, chappathi, pooris, ghee rice and even plain rice.